At NeoSmart Technologies, we’re huge fans of the new Windows Subsystem for Linux,1 and have spent a lot of time trying to make the transition between the native Win32 subsystem and the Linux/WSL subsystem as seamless as possible.
For those of you that haven’t already seen it, we recommend reading our previous article Meet $, your new best friend for WSL for an introduction to WSL and
$, our nifty helper utility that lets you directly run Linux commands in your Windows workflow. In brief, we developed
$ (also known – though less affectionately – as
RunInBash) to make it possible to run Linux utilities directly from within a Windows workflow, complete with arguments,
stderr redirection, and more.
We may not know for sure what it’s going to look like or what it will cost, but we do know that the new iPhone 8 – Apple’s 10 year iPhone anniversary edition – is on its way and it’ll be running iOS 11. And unlike the iPhone 8, iOS 11 has been available now for some time for beta testing and software development. There are a lot of changes – some good, some bad1 – but there are two new features that are especially important to be aware of given that they could – literally – save your life.
HTTPS is the future and the future is (finally) here. Secure HTTP requests that provide end-to-end encryption between the client making the request and the server providing it with the requested content is finally making some headway, with almost a third of the top one million sites on the internet serving content over SSL:1
But what this chart doesn’t show is an important subsection of HTTP traffic that is unfortunately infamous for a general lack of security: IoT. The “internet of things,” as it is called, is famous for fiascoes that have allowed hackers to break into the privacy of homes, spying on consumers via internet-enabled nanny cams, gaining access to so-called “smart locks” to break into houses, obtaining sensitive information, and exposing private content and data thanks to insecurely designed consumer products and services that live on the local network.
If you haven’t heard of
tac, it’s a pretty nifty command-line utility that ships with the GNU utils and it’s used to print a file backwards, line-by-line. It’s especially useful when analyzing things like log files, and judicious use of
tac can speed up commands considerably.
Take the example of a 30GiB webserver access log and you want to see the last request to a certain resource or that triggered a particular HTTP status code. You could run the following to get the last such request… which would take quite awhile on anything larger than a few hundred MiB:
> egrep "GET /path/to/resource " access.log | tail -n1
Or you could be smart about it and use
tac instead, and not even have time to blink before the result comes back:
> tac access.log | egrep "GET /path/to/resource " | head -n1
Have you ever wanted to quickly find out how long your system has been up and running for? Did you come back to a suspiciously empty desktop when you could have sworn you left some apps open and suspect your PC automatically installed some updates and rebooted while you were gone, but couldn’t be sure? Our latest application,
uptime, is the answer you’ve been looking for.
If you’re still stuck on .NET 2.0, 3.0, or 3.5 for any reason and don’t have access to the
.CopyTo method for
System.IO.Stream objects, the
Stream.CopyTo extension method, available as a small NuGet package will make manually allocating buffers and other boilerplate associated with copying a buffer from one stream to another a thing of the past.
Just a quick heads-up for all our readers: our recently released RunInBash utility – which makes mixing-and-matching PowerShell/Windows/CMD commands with WSL/Linux/Ubuntu commands under Windows 10 as easy as prefixing WSL commands with
$ to execute them from within a command prompt or PowerShell terminal – is now available under Chocolatey.
Continuing our promise to open source parts of our libraries and applications where possible, we’ve just released
PrettySize, a C# and .NET library for representing file sizes in a human-readable (pretty) format.
PrettySize is available for free (MIT-licensed) on GitHub and via NuGet for those that are interested, and forks, contributions, and pull-requests are actively encouraged.1
One of the best benefits of open-sourcing code is that it requires you to take a critical eye to what your code does and how it’s structured. Haphazard code interspersed throughout a dozen different files is cleaned up and re-organized in a way that can only bring benefits all around, from performance to ease-of-use, security, and future maintenance.
If you have any skin invested in the high-performance computing game, you’ve almost certainly heard of the likes of MMX and SSE, the original “extensions” to the x86 assembly instruction set that provided task-specific performance-optimized instructions that let developers take advantage of specific hardware extensions to quickly perform tasks that previously required extra steps in software to compute. If you haven’t, here’s a quick briefer.
The “basic” instructions supported by PCs are known as the “x86 assembly language” and is the lowest level of code available for writing software that runs on a “regular PC,” originally developed by Intel and adopted by other players in the CPU game (including AMD and the now-defunct Via CPUs). All PCs from the original Intel 8086 way back in 1978 to modern, multi-core behemoths support this language, and code written in or compiled for x86 can (in theory) run on any machine from 1978 onwards.
1Password and LastPass are probably the two best known names in the password storage business, both having been around from 2006 and 2008, respectively. Back in 2008, the internet was a very different place than it is today, especially when it comes to security. Since then, a lot has changed and the world has (hopefully) become a more security-conscious place – and security experts have come to a consensus on a lot of practices and approaches when it comes to encryption and the proper handling of sensitive data.
Both of these password managers are heavily vetted and constantly under scrutiny from security researchers, crackers, state security agencies, white hat hackers, and more with open bug bounty programs   (though some considerably more generous than others), and are probably “safe” choices for the average computer user.. to an extent.